OPTICKS by Albert Goldbarth


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The theme of this epic poem is glass -- glass, says Goldbarth, as a metaphor for his life. Not quite; but there are marvelous fanciful fictions concerning a canny Phoenician merchant's accidental discovery of glass by combining the fluid in which his late wife was embalmed (she will reappear centuries hence reincarnated as a beneficent crow) with a little sand; a medieval German glazier's farcical theft of alkaline lees from the local vintner for the basis of a magnificent stained glass window; a WW II American soldier's discovery and preservation of that window; and Goldbarth's visit to its new home in Iowa. The poet includes a harsh review of his own poem within the opus to explain his vagaries: "". . .an understandable pitfall, given a thousand-line notebook to fill with a single thirty-line poem."" What an iridescent and funny composition.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1974
Publisher: Seven Woods Press (P.O. Box 32, Village Station, New York, N.Y. 10014)